Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said Friday they are frustrated by an increase in violent crimes this year.
Overall, crime is up by 10.6 percent through the end of the third quarter, police said. But violent crime is up by 17.6 percent, according to the police department.
For example, police have investigated 52 murders this year, including five this month. Before the October killings, the number of homicides were already up 47 percent this year. There were 42 homicides in the city last year.
In addition, the number of arsons are up by 48 percent and rapes are up by 17 percent through Sept. 30, according to figures released by police.
“It’s challenging and frustrating,” CMPD Deputy Chief Katrina Graue said at a news conference. Of particular concern, she said, were shootings.
She cited a string of “road rage-type” incidents on the interstates in recent weeks where angry motorists fired shots into the other car. Police have investigated at least seven reports of guns being fired at vehicles on I-77 and I-85 in the past two months, according to WSOC-TV. No one has been seriously injured.
Police have also investigated more reports of people shooting into homes, and authorities say they’ve also seen more crimes and other problems at “liquor houses” and clubs that skirt alcohol laws and stay open long after legal bars and clubs close.
“What we’ve seen more and more is two individuals or three individuals get into a disagreement with each other and where they may have handled it in the past with an argument or a fistfight, people are just pulling out guns and shooting one another,” Graue said.
“It’s just disturbing.”
She said the spike in crime comes despite police reaching out to people in communities more than ever.
Police in the Beatties Ford Road corridor, for instance, have launched walking patrols, met routinely with business owners to discuss concerns, and have focused more enforcement on drug dealing and ABC violations, CMPD Capt. Jonathan Thomas said.
Overall in the city, police made 63,000 contacts with residents, such as attending community meetings or just saying ‘Hi,’ through Sept. 30. That number doesn’t include people being investigated.
Graue urged more people to call 911 if they see a crime. People can also call CrimeStoppers at 704-334-1600 to provide information anonymously on crimes that have occurred.
“It is a constant effort for us to continue to engage the community to get people to call us when those things begin, and (for) us to try to intervene so there’s not retaliatory shooting,” she said.
She said later: “We cannot do it alone.”
Violent crime increase
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police reported these increases for the period Jan. 1 through Sept. 30. Five homicides have been reported in October.
Source: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department